Kaman restarts K-MAX production

Kaman Corporation’s Aerosystems division has resumed production of K-MAX heavy-lift helicopters.

The aircraft will be manufactured at Kaman’s Jacksonville, Florida and Bloomfield, Connecticut facilities. The first new helicopter is expected to be delivered in early-2017.

K-MAX aircraft are used around the world for firefighting, logging and other missions requiring repetitive aerial lift capabilities.

Launch customers include current K-MAX operators Rotex Helicopter AG, of Switzerland, and Helicopter Express of Chamblee, Georgia.  Rotex Helicopter AG is a long-time K-MAX operator in Europe and uses the aircraft primarily for forestry missions in Switzerland, Liechtenstein and parts of Austria and Germany.

Rolf Spichtig, chief executive officer of Rotex Helicopter says: “In addition to the economic aspect, we see ecological benefits. The K-MAX makes less noise and consumes less fuel. With a payload of 2,700 kg, the helicopter is very versatile. All of this makes the K-MAX the preferred helicopter for many of our customers. It is a solid solution, which is why we have placed deposits for two new aircraft.”

Neal J. Keating, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Kaman says: “This is great news for Kaman and for operators who need the K-MAX to perform their missions effectively.  Our team has done a great job assessing the market and working with customers to secure enough orders to support the business case for reopening the line.”

Greg Steiner, president of Kaman Aerospace Group adds: “The reopening of the production line is a positive development for our company, the industry and our customers.  I am particularly pleased that Charlie Kaman’s visionary design for this unique aircraft has stood the test of time.”

Robert Starr, chief financial officer sys: “K-MAX production will result in a manageable near term investment in working capital and modest capital expenditures.  With the aircraft already fully developed and certified, the non-recurring costs to restart production are expected to be minimal.  Based on an initial multi-year production run of ten aircraft we expect revenues between $75 million and $85 million.  Re-starting the K-MAX line is not expected to impact our full year 2015 outlook.”

K-MAX was certified in 1994 by the US FAA. The aircraft can lift up to 6,000 pounds and the company is displaying at this year’s Paris Air Show.

Rotex Helicopter released a short video showing logging in Switzerland.

Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: terry@corporatejetinvestor.com or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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